The move from cocktail to marinade is kind of a no-brainer.
After all, most cocktails are packed with big flavors. Think spicy Bloody Marys, mint-packed mojitos, citrus and tequila, and ginger-spiced Moscow mules.
These are big flavors and there’s no need to re-invent the meal to apply these same flavors to marinades. In fact, you can use the actual cocktails as marinades with a few small changes!
Here are four of my favorite cocktail-to-marinade conversions.
Bloody Marys have big flavors. A good bloody Mary mix will have lots of spice: pepper, horseradish, and hot sauce. So you want a substantial piece of meat to hold up to the flavor.
I like to pair my Bloody Mary marinade with skirt steak. You can let it marinate overnight and it’ll be perfect when it hits the grill.
Mojitos have a more subtle flavor than Bloody Marys, but you want to make sure to really bring out the lime and mint flavors. I like to add a lot of mint to my mojito marinade and use a lean pork tenderloin.
The pork really benefits from the herbs, and the sugar in the marinade helps create a nice crust on the finished grilled pork!
The Moscow Mule is my go-to summer cocktail. Generally, you serve it in a copper mug, but this version is best in a plastic bag. Instead of ginger beer, I just cut up a lot of fresh ginger and lime and use that as a base.
It would be great on any mild grilled meat. For this version, I used it on a few boneless chicken breasts.
The final cocktail marinade I came up with is based on the classic Tequila Sunrise cocktail. Orange juice, tequila, and citrus is a great combo for seafood—shrimp, especially.
You don’t want to let this marinate for too long. Just a few minutes for the shrimp and they will have great flavor!
Grilling the Meats
When you’re ready to grill these, drain off the marinade and cook any of the recipes over medium-high direct heat.
Depending on the meat, you’ll need to vary your cooking time. The pork will probably need to grill the longest, while the shrimp will be done in just a few minutes.
There’s nothing like grilling up some great meals this time of year. Keep your kitchen cool and your grill hot! Serve each grilled meat with the cocktail that its marinade is based on, and enjoy!
Nick is a grilling expert! Check out his blog, Macheesmo, and follow him on his Tablespoon Profile.